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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
the hotchkis kit 1811 (that went up in price like 5 million percent) is anyone running it and did you have to replace the driveshaft because of the extended diff angle? im rubbing just a bit on the pass side wheel well but i figured i would look into centering the rear tires. is this kit worth it or go for the BMR kit and get an aluminum shaft extended and balanced. im hoping to avoid replacing the shaft, kinda hard to come by in canada.
 

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Hey,

Like you i wanted to center the rear wheels. I looked into the hotchkis kit, and from the get go i thought it was a nice kit but overpriced ($600 give or take). I ended up getting, in my opinion, a better solution thru UMI performance. Got their new adjustable extended upper and lower control arm kit. Very strong and well built pieces and both upper and lowers are adjustable. This was beneficial to me b/c i didnt want to buy a new drive shaft b/c of length. Hotchkis kit is 1/2" longer and it supposedly a safe increase. With the UMI adjustable lower i made it a 1/6" less than 1/2". For now this works great until i buy a new driveshaft, for horsepower/drivetrain reasons. Then i will officially center the wheels by extending them a little bit more. I bought the kit from UMI at the spring carlisle flea market...UMI attends and gives show discounts. I think i got uppers and lower and all new hardware for about $350-$400 CAN.

P.S at the same time i installed these, I completely removed the rear axle and swapped in some 3.73's. Stock drive shaft....no vibration yet and i have had it as high as 90mph. Just FYI.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey,

Like you i wanted to center the rear wheels. I looked into the hotchkis kit, and from the get go i thought it was a nice kit but overpriced ($600 give or take). I ended up getting, in my opinion, a better solution thru UMI performance. Got their new adjustable extended upper and lower control arm kit. Very strong and well built pieces and both upper and lowers are adjustable. This was beneficial to me b/c i didnt want to buy a new drive shaft b/c of length. Hotchkis kit is 1/2" longer and it supposedly a safe increase. With the UMI adjustable lower i made it a 1/6" less than 1/2". For now this works great until i buy a new driveshaft, for horsepower/drivetrain reasons. Then i will officially center the wheels by extending them a little bit more. I bought the kit from UMI at the spring carlisle flea market...UMI attends and gives show discounts. I think i got uppers and lower and all new hardware for about $350-$400 CAN.

P.S at the same time i installed these, I completely removed the rear axle and swapped in some 3.73's. Stock drive shaft....no vibration yet and i have had it as high as 90mph. Just FYI.

thanks for the info i will look into it, i changed to 3:73 gears and i have noticed a minor vibration at high speed but i think its more a u-joint starting to go it feels like what i had in my yukon a couple of yrs back slight vibration at 120km. you don't by chance know of a good driveshaft shop here in ontario do you? :) thanks again
 

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No complaints with my BMR extended tubular upper and lowers and Dynotech driveshaft. UMI kits also look good and cost a lot less than Hotchkis.
 

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Yeah, same boat as you....No idea of a good driveshaft shop around. Probably going to have so score one from a reputable shop in the states. I go to the states every few months, try to find the deals and save as much money as possible on duties etc. Ends up being pretty economical, and you can get the good stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
so what you were saying is that you can manage how far the diff. sits back and its only 1/6th of the 1/2" distance, do the rear wheels look centered at all? and if you did go all the way to 1/2" you would need a replacement shaft?

damn americans have all the fun and good stuff down there :)
 

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In a different post, I asked why the rear wheels did not look centered in the wheels wells, and part of the answer was that the wheels/axles are perfectly centered in the frame, but the sheet metal was off. So if the wheels/axles are centered in the frame, and you change that centering by 1/2" to get them centered in the wheel wells, how is that going to affect the suspension geometry?
 

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In a different post, I asked why the rear wheels did not look centered in the wheels wells, and part of the answer was that the wheels/axles are perfectly centered in the frame, but the sheet metal was off. So if the wheels/axles are centered in the frame, and you change that centering by 1/2" to get them centered in the wheel wells, how is that going to affect the suspension geometry?
I have had no negative effects since installing mine and the car handles awesome with little wheel hop on a hard launch. The only thing I can think of is that it might mess up your pinion angle, but not enough that I felt like making any adjustments. If it seems off to you try reshimming the tranny mounts to reangle the driveshaft. Other than that I can't think of anything.
 

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What i meant with the "1/2 inch is safe, with no ill effects" is that is what hotchkis claims with their kit. So i just basically took that and decided that to be a "little safer" (and b/c i could with adjustability) i would go 1/16" less. So my arms extended 7/16". This doesnt completely center the wheels, i think to truly center them, it needs to be 5/8" or so. But for now, the 7/16" of an inch looks a lot better. Definitely no longer looks like the front of the rear tires is into the back door.

When i do get a new driveshaft i am going to play with the LCA length, get it just right (centered perfect to the eye). Then measure for a new driveshaft that accomodates that extended length.

This adjustment to 7/16" now and to whatever i want in the future is exactly why i wanted the UMI kit, its adjustable for lower and upper CA's and is cheaper. Great kit, that will serve well for when you cant afford everything at once and can accomodate for the future.

Now for the pinion angle. I lengthed the uppers 7/16" of an inch compared to the stock uppers to start. Bolted the axle and arms in. later Got it over my pit in the shop and used the old trusty angle finder method for setting the pinion angle via adjusting the upper control arms lengths. I set it to 2.5-3.0 degrees down. Which from various sources is a good spot for a polyeurethane bushed 4 link suspension. Little more angle would suit rubber bushings. Then i just cranked all the adjusting nuts on the CA's down and done deal. handles great, seems to have a more positive feel in the back. Before when swingin the back end out around a corner it would feel very flexy/loose/rubbery and kinda whiplashy (not a word but you get what i mean). Now its smooth, can completely control the ass end, and again smooth and positive feel.
 

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damn americans have all the fun and good stuff down there :)
...well if it makes you feel any better you Canadians have us beat on better beer :)

My $.02 is if you are exstending the control arms to center the wheels you MUST check/adjust your DL angle. Using "adjustables" will certainly help that. You may also need to add/substract shims between tranny and mount to adjust front yoke angle as well.

I have high regard to hotchkis...but am sure others like UMI make a good product. I have stock length Hotchkis on my car.

I would also thnk a stock DS length is fine if only 1/2" more of the yoke is out of the tranny. "if" ordering a aftermarket DS than any length will not effect costs. I and many use Denny's but the whole canadian duty/shipping thing can be a PIA.

I work in canada once a month and married a canadian so "shipping" issues is something I am aware of. now driving something up from the states.....:) well the duty free beer at the border is always a stop for me. Man beer $ is big in canada :-(
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i just got my issue of GM high tech performance and in the they had a write up of upgrading the stock suspension along with the rear control arms. they have not wrote nothing about checking the driveshaft length, they used the BMR kit with the lengthed arms non adjustable....odd. i think i am going to go the UMI route seems like a good kit for the money thanks guys :) always nice to get stright up responses to the question asked lol
 

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I'm using Hotchkis extended lowers and adjustable uppers with only minor issues at installation: 1) very minor interference with exhaust pipes as they come over the rear end; 2) very minor interference with the gas tank heat shield.

Both issues were solved with a bit of adjustment of the exhaust pipes and the heat shield.
 

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Hey,

Like you i wanted to center the rear wheels. I looked into the hotchkis kit, and from the get go i thought it was a nice kit but overpriced ($600 give or take). I ended up getting, in my opinion, a better solution thru UMI performance. Got their new adjustable extended upper and lower control arm kit. Very strong and well built pieces and both upper and lowers are adjustable. This was beneficial to me b/c i didnt want to buy a new drive shaft b/c of length. Hotchkis kit is 1/2" longer and it supposedly a safe increase. With the UMI adjustable lower i made it a 1/6" less than 1/2". For now this works great until i buy a new driveshaft, for horsepower/drivetrain reasons. Then i will officially center the wheels by extending them a little bit more. I bought the kit from UMI at the spring carlisle flea market...UMI attends and gives show discounts. I think i got uppers and lower and all new hardware for about $350-$400 CAN.

P.S at the same time i installed these, I completely removed the rear axle and swapped in some 3.73's. Stock drive shaft....no vibration yet and i have had it as high as 90mph. Just FYI.
Hi I was going threw the threads and seen this comment and was wondering am I going to have to upgrade my drive shaft in order to center my rear wheels ? I bought the same kit adjustable upper and lowers by UMI
 
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